Homeowners looking for another way to save money on utilities can conduct a home energy evaluation or audit. By following the tips below, you’ll find the places in your home where you might be losing conditioned air, or where external conditions could be adversely impacting your home’s efficiency.
Locate Air Leaks
Do a visual inspection of your home for air leaks in these locations: around windows, doors and baseboards; electric switches; holes to the exterior where pipes, cables and wires enter the home; electrical outlets; attic hatches; fireplace dampers; vents and fans; and recessed lighting. Caulk or weatherstrip these areas to prevent leaks. Also check for air leaks at exterior corners, around outdoor water faucets, the junctions of siding and chimneys, and the place where the home’s siding or brick meets the foundation.
The best way to find air leaks is through a professional blower door test.
Maintain Proper Insulation Levels
The right amount of insulation is crucial during our Michigan winters. Insulate the top of the attic hatch. Seal attic openings for pipes, ductwork and chimneys with expanding foam caulk. Insulating the attic floor with fiberglass batts can help keep conditioned air in the home’s living space, rather than allowing it to migrate into the unconditioned attic. Insulate ductwork in unconditioned spaces. Also check the basement or crawl space insulation levels, and if insulation is lacking, add it under the living area floor or around the perimeter of the foundation.
Walls are harder to check for proper insulation, but you can try this: turn off the circuit breaker to an outlet in an exterior wall and remove the cover plate. Probe into the wall through the outlet with a long, thin implement such as a crochet hook and check for insulation.
The only way to really be sure your walls are adequately insulated is through a professional thermographic inspection, which employs infrared cameras to read heat levels in the home.
For more advice on conducting a home energy evaluation, or to schedule a professional energy audit, contact Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing in Grand Traverse County.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Traverse City, Michigan and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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